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Bachelor Paradox

You would never think of a marriage proposal like a game. However, according to Mark Gimein, the whole process is very similar to an auction and has roots in game theory. It all begins with the desire and need for an available, sociable, and attractive man. Unfortunately, this requirement is difficult to fulfill due to the perceived notion that society has a shortage of these attractive, sociable, intelligent men. There should be an equal amount of eligible bachelors and eligible bachelorettes in society.  This is not the case however because society has been conditioned to the idea that  a woman can choose. She can choose to say yes or no to the suitor.

This whole concept can be seen as an auction, which is directly related to our class and the lectures we had concerning auctions. In this example of an auction, the females are the players. There are weak bidders and strong bidders; the stronger ones are deemed as more of a catch and seem to win the eligible bachelors due to their attractiveness. However, according to game theory, this isn’t the case. The weak bidders will often win the auction because these females know that they will be outbid, and since they really want to find the right guy and “get it right” they will bid more aggressively. This is why the eligible bachelors seem to be lacking in society; they were won by the weak bidders very early on. This then leaves the strong female bidders and the eligible, but unsociable bachelors on the playing field. This dilemma defines the Bachelor Paradox, which in essence is a very interesting auction.

This article is especially interesting because is the opposite of what we learned in class. In class we were taught to simply bid your bid, no matter what anyone else was doing. But this example is saying people do the exact opposite. They are bidding aggressively and changing their tactics in order to win. Perhaps due to social protocol the bidder should change his/her bids? There seems to be more at stake than just winning a prize or an item, it the rest of your life on the table.

http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/everyday_economics/2008/04/the_eligiblebachelor_paradox.html

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